Is getting drunk a sin? Time and again, before and after being “born again,” Christians find themselves face-to-face with this question. The short answer is, “Yes, getting drunk is a sin.” End of sermon. Everybody can pack their bags and go home now. But it’s not that simple to just take these short answers and run with them.
You may have a flatmate or roommate who drinks or walks past the liquor section of the supermarket. Remember what it felt like to drink, and put your inhibitions on hold while you sip a glass or two. If you find yourself in such a position, the only thing that holds you back from getting drunk is understanding the God-honest truth about whether or not getting drunk is a sin.
What Is Getting Drunk?
To get drunk means to have your mental faculties temporarily impaired by excessive consumption of alcohol. However, the Bible doesn’t fix any cut-and-dried definition for getting drunk. Drunkenness in the Bible is viewed and analyzed from the standpoint of its effects. We’ll consider a few verses to understand what God thinks about drunkenness now.
Losing Control of One’s Senses
In Isaiah 24:20, the earth is described as reeling like a drunkard. When one reels, one sways uncontrollably, subjected to the influence of a force that’s more powerful than one. The implication of this is that if you drink so much alcohol that the alcohol begins to control you, so much so that you do things that you ordinarily would not do, you’re drunk. Jeremiah 23:9 paints the picture of being drunk as having trembling bones and extraordinary strength as a result of being overcome by wine.
As humans grow older, we become self-aware. Some things that we used to do when we were toddlers, such as running around without any clothes on, became cringe-worthy. As the Bible puts it in the third chapter of Genesis, we begin to know what’s good and what’s evil. Getting drunk erases that line between good and evil.
For example, in Genesis 9:21, Noah slept uncovered inside his tent after having a lot of wine to drink. That tent certainly had no locks and bolts like modern rooms because Noah’s son was able to easily enter into the tent and see his father in that state.
In addition, Habakkuk 2:15 alludes that when a person drinks wine until they’re drunk, they reveal their nakedness for their neighbors to see.
Drinking Enough to Get Drowsy
The Bible often relates being drunk to being dizzy and asleep. The relationship between taking too much alcohol and feeling sleepy is backed by science. According to Healthline, when alcohol is consumed, it travels to the central nervous system and slows down the functioning of that system, thus depressing it and making the individual drowsy.
No wonder Paul, in the seventh verse of the fifth chapter of his first letter to Thessalonians, mentions that those who get drunk do so at night, which is the time of the day when people are ready to sleep.
Is Drinking a Sin?
While the Bible outrightly condemns getting drunk, it doesn’t forbid drinking alcohol. Many theological teachers firmly state that drinking isn’t a sin. However, it’s surprising to some that the Christian faith doesn’t prohibit drinking. God, in various instances in the book of Deuteronomy, openly encourages His people to produce wine, promising to bless their production of wine and make them prosperous through it. Deuteronomy 14:26 records the Lord telling the Israelites, through Moses, to buy wine or other fermented drinks and enjoy them in the presence of the Lord.
The consumption of alcohol is so permitted in the Old Testament that Hannah takes a skin of wine along with her offerings when she fulfills her vow to dedicate Samuel to the Lord’s service. Jesus Christ Himself shows His approval of drinking when He turns water into wine at the Cana wedding in the second chapter of John. The turning of water into wine is the first recorded miracle that Jesus performed.
Now that it’s clear that drinking isn’t a sin, you may be wondering why getting drunk is a sin. We’ll discuss that right away.
Why Is Getting Drunk a Sin?
Subjection to Alcohol
Getting drunk is a sin because it subjects the drunkard to the control of alcohol, making him do things that he shouldn’t do. God doesn’t want that. In Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica, he includes a firm warning that they should control themselves in a way that’s holy and honorable.
Considering the effects of drunkenness scattered throughout the Scriptures, it’s apparent that getting drunk doesn’t lead to honorable things. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul links getting drunk to debauchery, which is an extreme indulgence in bodily pleasures. This makes it clear that drunkenness pushes the individual to dishonor God through his body.
Alienation from the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is known to fill whoever He dwells in. In Luke 1:67, Zechariah is said to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which results in his annunciation of the birth of Jesus. But long before Zechariah’s annunciation, drunkenness is shown to be a filling force as well, in Jeremiah 13:13.
This means that a person cannot both be drunk and filled with the Holy Spirit. Only one of the two can take over a man at a time. The verse mentioned above, Ephesians 5:18, also creates a parallel relationship between drunkenness and the Holy Spirit.
Although being drunk is a route to escape from the worries of life, it’s also a precursor to destruction. When God sends Jeremiah to prophesy against the Israelites, He states that He’ll destroy them with the sword, but they’ll get drunk first (Jeremiah 25:27).
Besides, Ezekiel 23:33 associates drunkenness with overwhelming sorrow. But you don’t have to live a life of sorrow. All you have to do is not get drunk. Please bear in mind that all the verses mentioned in this article are quoted from the Holy Bible, New International Version.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.